CWN - As Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan continued his crackdown, assuming unprecedented powers through a state of emergency and suspending adherence to a human rights treaty, one of the nation’s bishops said that Catholics are safe because they stay out of politics.

“All the current difficulties are linked to political events, and we don’t touch such issues or take any part in demonstrations,” Bishop Rubén Tierrablanca Gonzalez told Catholic News Service. “Thanks to this, our Church’s members are safe.”

In April, the 63-year-old Franciscan, who hails from Mexico and ministered in El Paso, Rome, and Turkey, was named the Latin-rite apostolic vicar of Istanbul and apostolic administrator of the nation’s Greek Catholics. A curial prelate, Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, ordained him a bishop on June 11.

“Of course, we’re not happy about what’s happened, but we’ll continue to encourage and support our faithful,” Bishop Tierrablanca added. “We hope the situation will improve without bringing us further troubles, but there are problems here which can’t be tackled in a short time.”

Turkey is 99.8% Sunni Muslim, and only 47,000 of the nation’s 75 million people are Catholic.

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Teachings of Christ

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matthew 5:43-44 ESV)

Theophany

When You were baptized in the Jordan, O Lord, * worship of the Trinity was revealed, * for the Father's voice bore witness to You, calling You His “beloved Son”, * and the Spirit in the form of a dove confirmed the certainty of these words. * O Christ God, * Who appeared and enlightened the world, glory to You! (Troparion, Tone 1)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and to the ages of ages. Amen.

You have appeared to the whole world today, * and Your light, O Lord, is signed upon us, * who with knowledge sing praise to You: * "You have come, and You have appeared, O Unapproachable Light." (Kontakion, Tone 4)

Random Proverb

"He who commits adultery lacks sense; he who does it destroys himself." (Proverbs 6:32 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Let us go forward with the heart completely attentive and the soul fully conscious. For if attentiveness and prayer are daily joined together, they become like Elias' fire-bearing chariot, raising us to heaven. What do I mean? A spiritual heaven, with sun, moon and stars, is formed in the blessed heart of one who has reach a state of watchfulness, or who strives to attain it.

St. Philotheus of Sinai